The Raid of the Grackles
In the morning the grackles come as shadows
skimming the grass like manta rays
along the ocean floor, then, rising
into the cherry tree, dimming its brightness,
perch above the feeder, stretch their bodies,
curving them into a “u.”
One leaps to the feeder, making it spin,
riding it, feeding as he turns, his talons choking its rim.
Along the ground, the gang stabs the thick grass
for seeds scattered by their leader,
and preen in the early sunlight,
flashing iridescent greens and blues.
At a silent signal they go without stealth.
Then sparrows come, finches, a cardinal,
all sharing the wobbling feeder.
The cherry blossoms regain their soft brilliance.
—John D. Groppe (Jasper County)
This poem was first published in From the Edge of the Prairie (2005). John D. Groppe is Professor Emeritus of English at Saint Joseph’s College, Rensselaer. A native of New York City and a Hoosier since 1958, he holds a BS in Education from the College of the City of New York and a MA in American Literature from Columbia University. His poetry has appeared in Snowy Egret, Embers, The National Catholic Reporter, Tipton Poetry Journal, and From the Edge of the Prairie, among other publications. He is coeditor of From the Edge of the Prairie, an annual anthology of poetry and prose focusing on a sense of place.